I’m feeling down

Hank said he had to give a testimony today in court so he’s feeling a little down.

He’s only 15 and has the communication skills to say he’s feeling down.

It’s hard to know what to feel when you hear what crime he committed. He’s only 15.

He wanted to cry which made me want to cry. I showed him how Americans dap people up so he’d have a positive touch point but i don’t even know if we’re allowed to touch them.

What if my actions don’t align with how my heart feels and I lose interest and fail him like every other adult in his life?

Today they sang Amazing Grace. And when the mic got passed to him, he sang it too. Yeah timidly, and he probably didn’t know what the lyrics meant, but that’s what I’m holding on to.

Sometimes I don’t know what to say so I asked if they serve good food. Of course they effing don’t. It’s juvie. I said don’t worry we’ll get good food when he comes out. He gave a short chuckle. What if he goes to prison?

We’re only allowed to visit 3 times a month, so what will happen next week? Who will be a positive light in their life?

Tomorrow he’s looking forward to playing basketball. He likes to shoot from faraway. Jesus I pray he rains buckets.

those who beat their children

They told me I was too young to visit the prison ministry, so I was assigned the juvenile home instead. I was dreading it for multiple months, but it kept popping up in my head. Then multiple people brought it up to me, seemingly random. So I finally said I’d show up to this juvenile home with troubled youth who only speak canto, and I barely speak canto.

I was surprised how happy some of them were. Even though sometimes they didn’t listen to the old chinese lady playing piano and her white husband playing the saxophone, they were smiling. Sometimes they even joined in with the singing. They had never seen us before. I stood there awkwardly, I saw them looking at my arms. I should’ve wore a different shirt.

The organizer volunteer told me some of them get sent here from a court order from a social worker or the police. They might be beaten badly in their home, so they live in the juvie for about a month. Sometimes they come back.

I thought of my own home. Sometimes my dad would leave me and my siblings at a car dealership because they had free drinks and popcorn. Sometimes the lounge was really nice, with black leather couches, and a large tv. I remember I’d get a bit anxious every time the workers would walk by and still see us there. One time they approached us and asked where our parents were. We were too small and shy, and didn’t the schools tell us not to talk to strangers? So we weren’t very cooperative and they were talking about social services or child protection services or something, and I didn’t know what that was, so I didn’t know what to do, and I was the youngest too, so what was I supposed to do. Then my dad finally came back and spat with the workers because they were concerned for us, but he didn’t like them in his business.

What if he took 20 minutes longer? Would I be in one of those homes? What if they didn’t catch him this time around, but on the plethora of other visits we had to car dealerships. Sometimes he’d come back late and pretend to buy a car. Or what if they caught him when he left us at a library in a faraway city for like eight hours.

Me and the organizer volunteer talked with two of the boys. They were 14 and 15, and seemed so young. I thought it wasn’t etiquette to ask these questions, but the organizer started asking them how they got there, if their parents hit them, where they hit them. Maybe the shy one did want to talk about it but just didn’t know how or was just completely uncomfortable. He told us he didn’t get along with his dad. They argued often. His dad hit him often. But he did get along with his mother. But then the organizer asked, "Does your mother hit you?". "No. She kicks me.", replied the kid. Everytime he brought up his parents’ abuse, he blatantly looked away from us. Completely turned his head the other direction. I also wanted to, but I’m not sure it would’ve helped if they saw me crying.

I just want them to be okay. I want the dads to stop being complete fuck ups.

He told me on a scale of 1-10, living at the juvie is a 6. Kid, we can get that number higher. I’m so sorry you’re going through this right now. I’m so sorry.

It’s these fucked up adults that fuck another idiot and have a kid and beat them. These are the ones I hate. But now more than ever, after that visit, I’m reminded how important it is to love your peers, especially the tough ones, because they could be future child abusers.

And sometimes I think of how fucked up I am, and if there’s even any hope of becoming a good father.

Kid, I hope I can convince the both of us that you will be okay.

This is why you don’t have friends

I sat next to a dad and son on the subway today. The son was recounting something that happened at school. I think he got made fun of for having a "dad bod." He was probably 9 years old. The dad responded, "this is why you don’t have friends."

I was shook. Do I say something? Is it my place? Okay what if I say something right when I have to get off, so they can’t say anything back to me? I realized I didn’t have the courage so I just sat there and eavesdropped.

"You said you don’t want to be my father anymore."
"I didn’t say that. Stop making things up."

Then a few moments later, the dad puts his hand on his son’s head and pulls him in close. They got off on the stop before me and hold hands.

Maybe things were okay after all. But after all my practice talking to strangers, what have I got to show?

just a white belt trying to feel good about himself

Another jiu jitsu competition in 1.5 days. I limit water and food intake so I can lose the weight. Am I even excited about this? Yes… I am. I’m just a white belt trying to feel about himself. Because maybe if I win this, I can prove to people I’m tough, capable, lovable, a really good white belt.

Man who cares about any of this. Who cares about winning a local competition that has absolutely 0 value to society. I’ll just go and have fun. It’s the best cliche answer.

step in the right direction

Anything worth cherishing, a healthy body, a loving relationship, work you’re proud of, healing something broken, takes a hard and important step in the right direction.

It’s hard. Acknowledge it’s hard. Stop talking about it and do it. Information is cheap. Action is expensive.

Say no to the doughnut, share your work, shoot your shot, do the extra workout.

Get off your couch!

It’s a connections game

Last night, I had a call with a prominent filmmaker who just got his first Oscar nomination, his first feature won at Sundance, and they just sold the film and will have a US theatrical release this summer.

What’s the point of having this call with him? Is it to leverage his accomplishments and prestige so he can launch my career? Isn’t that just using someone? Do people just kiss ass in a call so they hope the person likes them, so when they ask for a large favor in the future, they’ll be more likely to say yes?

Or is it just to love and care for him as a human being and hope that a friendship develops, so all the help he gives comes organically. This seems more pleasant.

I don’t know man. I’m grateful he talked with us. I’m tired of scarcity mindsets where people use one another. The outcome is everybody still ends up depressed.

Nothing beats just doing the work. Do the effing work.

I hope you like my movie

I hope you guys like my movie. I’ve been working hard on it… for the most part. It’s sad, funny, raw, inspiring, vulnerable, and emotional.

I hope for it to be done by the end of this year.


Apply to Sundance Ignite

Apply to Doc Edge Pitch

Finish out OSV, finish HOTW

Submit to festivals, festival run

At the same time, finish editing BBCRTD into a tight long-short (40 minutes) or something like a web series with multiple episodes.

Figure out what vocational ministry looks like.

Apply to grad schools, DocNomads and KinoEyes

Make multiple shorts

Apply to Biennale College for my 2nd feature.

This is the timeline in my head. And all other timelines in my head from the past have always always changed. Which is kinda fun, kinda adventurous, definitely unexpected, and always a blessing. Maybe OSV becomes huge and we work together for so many more docs.

Who knows. Excited for the ride,

If this isn’t a sign than what is?



Do you know what’s crazy? I’ve flown across either the Pacific or Atlantic ocean 16 times. Of those 16 times, I only paid for the flight 3 times. Isn’t that crazy?!

Let’s say each flight was around 1.5k. Thats 24k.

Wow. Each flight was free from either school, work, or a really nice person.

Is this a huge blessing from God? Because if I didn’t get into Claremont, I wouldn’t have gotten all those free flights, caught the travel bug, and kept traveling.

Thank you





I’m finally back home. After 13 months of living in Hong Kong, some generous individual paid for my ticket back home. A 16 hour flight later, I’m sitting in my dusty, moldy, garbage filled home, eating chick fil a, salads I’ve missed so much, and all nuts my mom buys way too much of.

And then there’s my dad. He works from 10a – 9p, and I’m jetlagged, so I don’t get to see him. But I briefly saw him, on the way to bed, and I didn’t say anything because I was tired.

But this morning, nobody else was home, just me and him. I sat upstairs, typing away, and he was in the kitchen, doing something. I couldn’t bring myself to go to say hi. That’s it. He was on the way out anyways. I could’ve just said a quick hi and ran back upstairs.

But instead I sat in my chair, racking my brain thinking why was I such a straight up pussy? Excuse my language and derogatory term, but clearly I’m not kind to myself in my head. It’s my dad. Why can’t I just go downstairs?

What was hitchiking over 30+ times? In Asia, the middle east, and Europe? What was knocking on strangers’ doors and sleeping in their house? What about shaving my luscious locks because I wanted to exercise not caring about what people think of me? Or wearing one shirt every. single. day. Where is my courage? What have I been doing in Hong Kong? Dicking around? Have I not trained for this? I’m a 24 year old who’s scared of talking to his dad. Put that on my resume. Wow.

I will talk to my dad before I leave this country again.